August 2023 Newsletter
August is a significant month for commemorating resilience, strength, and community power. We celebrate Black August in uplifting freedom fighters contending with the prison industrial complex, as well as rejoice in community power building during Black Philanthropy Month. Black August teaches us that autonomy over one’s life is a fundamental human right and must be treated as such, while Black Philanthropy Month is proof that when we work in solidarity, our reach is that much greater. At ReWork the Bay, we know it’s possible to rebuild the Bay Area economy so that it serves everyone. We move towards achieving this every day. And, through observing and educating ourselves about Black August and Black Philanthropy Month, we embrace a core truth about this work:
We cannot accomplish this mission without the community. The communities we serve must be centered and have complete autonomy in decision-making. Otherwise, we are just taking pretty pictures.
Philanthropy is such a powerful tool in advancing equity. However, just like any tool, it works best when used efficiently. The most efficient use of philanthropic dollars is building community power and funding community-led initiatives. Unfortunately, much of today’s philanthropy misses the mark by supporting projects built in silos, far away from the problems and the real people they affect. I am proud to work for an organization that recognizes and actively seeks to correct these issues within today’s philanthropy. At ReWork the Bay, we unite leaders in economic justice, education and training, business, and philanthropy to advance collective solutions for a diverse and equitable Bay Area. Several leaders of the organizations on the Equity at Work Council have rich lived experiences that inform their philanthropic work, including Jeffery Wallace of LeadersUp, Kaiton Williams of Impact America Fund, Zima Creason of California EDGE Coalition, Terah Lawyer-Harper of CROP Organization, and Dr. Carole Dorham-Kelly of Rubicon Programs. These leaders are members of the communities they serve and, as such, build innovative and effective solutions that center the people, not the projects.
Join us in learning more about the work of Dr. Jacqueline Bouvier Copeland, founder of Black Philanthropy Month, and the life of George Jackson, community activist who served as the inspiration for Black August. Their efforts encourage and motivate us to continue to work toward a future where everyone has agency and dignity in their work, home, and communities.
Brianna, Janelle, + Rob